Travel Fare: Beaufort and its Stew
August 31, 2012
Daughter of the sea and mistress of the sixty-four islands that surround her, Beaufort, South Carolina, is a lady with a past. She lives the gentle life of legend and history, just tinged with the rude bustle of today.
The handsome homes that front on narrow streets are reminders of the early days when ships from England, France, and Spain came courting. They brought with them the architecture and furnishings that made Beaufort such a genteel city.
The Spanish were first to venture ashore, landing in 1521. Cast ashore by a storm, they explored the coast and returned three years later to colonize the region. But Indians wars filled so many graves that they were forced to return home. The French tried to create a colony on the coast, and so did the Scots. Finally, in 1711, the English finally did manage to establish a seaport town. They named it for the Duke of Beaufort.
Homes were built facing the water front, with high ceilings and tall windows to take advantage of the cool sea breezes. Beaufort has become one of the few towns in the United States whose entire downtown has been designated by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as an historic district of nearly two hundred restored buildings.
More than fifty historic buildings have been identified and include beautifully restored aristocratic homes. You can walk along the peaceful harbor at Waterfront Park,a pleasant place to linger for a while and or join one of the boat and horse-drawn carriage tours that start at the park.
Secure in its history, the city also has its own mystery. Cloaked by live oaks and Spanish moss, the Joseph Johnson House, known as The Castle, is bewitched. It is inhabited by strange noises, opening doors, and the apparition of a stooped old man. And on certain moonlit nights, they say, an elf comes up out of the marshes beside the home, goes upstairs, and talks to the guests.
What is not a mystery, however, is the South Carolina’s Low Country’s fine cuisine as exemplified by Beaufort’s own brand of traditional stew.
Beaufort Low Country Stew
1 pound smoked sausage links, sliced
10 frozen small corncobs
10 small red potatoes
1 (three ounce) package dry crab and shrimp seasoning mix
1 ½ pounds unpeeled, large fresh shrimp
Salt to taste
Place the sausage, corn, potatoes, and dry crab and shrimp seasoning mix in a large pot filled with enough boiling water to cover.
Cook 10 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.
Mix in the shrimp, and continue cooking until opaque.
Drain, season with salt, and serve warm.
Calories per serving: 540